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Analysis: More Older Americans Are Opting For Divorce

Divorce, ring and hand of old woman at home for separation, breakup and conflict. Marriage problem, relationship issues and finish with wife finger and decision for change, disagree and leave.

Many couples get divorced. It may be due to unresolved conflict, financial problems, infidelity, communication issues, or a combination of factors. Whatever the reason, at least one spouse decides that it's best to dissolve the marriage and lead separate lives. Divorce is nothing new.

However, what is new is the age of many divorcing couples. A recent analysis from the Bowling Green State University's National Center for Family and Marriage Research (NCFMR) has discovered a growing "gray divorce" trend. From 1990 to 2021, divorce rates have doubled for Americans who are 55 or older and tripled for those who are 65 and older.

An uptick in divorce among Baby Boomers

What are some of the reasons for this trend?

Cultural shifts

Societal norms around divorce have become more accepting, and older adults no longer face the same stigmas that might have discouraged them from ending unhappy marriages in the past. This cultural shift empowers individuals to prioritize their own well-being and seek fulfillment, even later in life.

Evolving attitudes

As people live longer and healthier lives, their expectations of what marriage should be also evolve. Priorities shift, desires change, and people may no longer feel fulfilled in relationships that once worked. Some might seek companionship and adventure, while others prioritize personal growth and independence. This reevaluation of marriage can lead to the realization that a divorce is the best path to individual happiness.

Empty nest syndrome

For decades, raising children often served as a unifying force in marriages. Once the kids leave, some couples find themselves facing a void they hadn't anticipated. This can lead to a rediscovery of differences or incompatibilities that were previously overshadowed by the demands of parenthood. The absence of a shared purpose can trigger reevaluations of the relationship and potentially lead to divorce.

Different paths

Even though they are married, couples may find their lives going in different directions. One partner might prioritize travel and new experiences, while the other seeks stability and routine. Differing interests, values, and energy levels can create separation in the relationship, making it difficult to find common ground and ultimately leading to the decision to separate.

An experienced divorce attorney can look out for your interests

However, divorce, even later in life, can have a significant financial impact. Research has found that following a gray divorce, a man can expect to see a 21% decline in his standard of living, while a woman can expect to see a decline of 45%.

That's why certified financial planner Patti Black encourages couples to carefully consider the financial implications before getting a divorce.

Finances are just one factor to consider in a divorce. It's important to have an experienced divorce attorney working with you to ensure your needs are understood and properly addressed. Indianapolis divorce attorney Rachel A. East of Hocker Law, LLC guides clients through the process every step of the way.

We can work with you to determine the best way forward. Our law firm handles collaborative divorce, uncontested divorce, contested divorce, and legal separation. Learn about your options and get answers to your questions. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

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